Postgraduate study

Global Health and Infectious Diseases (Online Learning) PgProfDev

Awards: PgProfDev

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study

Online learning

Funding opportunities

The Global Health and Infectious Diseases programme offered me a chance to broaden my knowledge base to understand more about various important aspects of infectious diseases, with application in both developed and developing country contexts.

Martin Wainaina Global Health and Infectious Diseases
Martin Wainaina               Global Health and Infectious Diseases

This postgraduate programme aims to address the challenges posed by infectious diseases by developing your expertise in surveillance, prevention, and control of infectious diseases.

You will explore and address local and global health challenges related to infectious diseases and their impact on public health. The programme explores the parallels that exist between infectious diseases such as malaria, influenza, TB, Covid-19, and neglected diseases such as leprosy and brucellosis. You will develop the skills to apply scientific research to help develop and implement strategies and programmes to help manage infectious diseases better.

What will you study?

Year 1 of the programme aims to develop your understanding of the transmission of infectious agents and their survival strategies, as well as look at strategies for disease control of the host. You will also explore the impact globalisation has had on our modern world and the challenges related to globalisation, such as population movement, food security, and disease surveillance.

In year 2 we offer a range of optional courses in the programme, providing you with the opportunity to specialise in areas of interest, including:

  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • GIS and spatial data
  • Neglected tropical diseases
  • Newborn and child health
  • Project management of development aid
  • Reproductive and Maternal Health
  • Water and sanitisation
  • Zoonotic diseases

Year 3 gives you the opportunity to research original and creative responses to a challenge of your choosing in the form of a dissertation project.

Studying online allows flexibility in where and when you choose to study and means you can work at your own pace.

How does online learning work?

Online programmes are delivered through the University's Virtual Learning Environment, LEARN. Our award-winning, online learning technology is fully interactive, and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to the University of Edinburgh’s excellent resources but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

During term time, you should be prepared to spend an average of 20 hours a week engaged in course materials, be that reviewing lecture notes and case studies, interacting with fellow students and the programme team on the discussion board, researching areas of interest or preparing assignments. As there are no set times for study, to be successful you will need to be self-motivated and determined.

Although the programme involves independent study, you will also have the opportunity to become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from all over the world. Indeed one of the most important aspects to successful online study is the ongoing support and sharing of information achieved through interactive discussions and input from expert tutors.

How will you learn?

Learning is delivered through:

  • Weekly materials, written notes, recommended reading, organised discussions with other learners, tutors and course organisers. Recorded lectures or podcasts may also be available for you to watch or listen to in your own time.
  • Opportunities to connect regularly with your course organiser and programme team to address concerns and monitor progress.
  • Individual assessments including essays, data presentations, proposals and presentations that will reinforce what you have learnt.
  • Group assignments and online discussions with your peers will expose you to different perspectives and new ways of thinking about a problem or topic.
  • Independent study and reflection.

The programme normally takes three years (when studied part-time), beginning with a series of courses and followed by an individual project or dissertation.

Year 1 (certificate)

You will take courses that include:

  • Global Health: Fundamentals
  • Understanding Infectious Diseases

And you will choose one from the following two options:

  • a single course in Applied Epidemiology and Public Health
  • a course each in Global Citizenship and Globalisation and Health

More information on year 1 courses

Year 2 (diploma)

You will choose sixty credits from a range that may include:

  • Global citizenship
  • Project managing development aid
  • Transdisciplinary policy approaches for addressing the public health and development challenges of the 21st century
  • The Nexus of Food Security and Global Health
  • Neglected tropical diseases
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Travel medicine and infectious diseases
  • Globalisation and health
  • Public health systems in high, low and middle income countries
  • The communication of disease control
  • Technological advances in diagnostics
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Newborn and child health
  • Zoonotic diseases in a global setting
  • Global health: mortality
  • Zoonotic disease
  • Introduction to GIS and spatial data analysis
  • An introduction to vaccinology
  • Reproductive and maternal health

More information on year 2 courses

Year 3 (MSc)

You will conduct a written reflective element of 10,000-15,000 words.

Find out more about how the programme is structured:

Intermittent Learning (ICL)

The programme is also available for intermittent learners, this differs from the part-time structure as students have up to 6 years to complete their MSc. Further, there is no assumption of sequential study, students inform the programme teams of the courses they wish to study, and enrolment is made following this instruction. Invoices are generated with each course enrolment.

Please note, that while this study pattern does introduce more flexibility, courses are available based upon the academic timetable – the timetable and assessment deadline are fixed. The compulsory elements of our exit awards must be met, although the order in which these courses are taken is no longer fixed.

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit.

Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Please contact the programme team for more information about available courses and course start dates.

Semester dates for the academic year 2022-2023

These are key dates in the academic year, which vary slightly year to year. For your programme these are:

  • Welcome Week: 12 – 16 September 2022
  • Semester 1: 19 September - 2 December 2022

    • Block 1 dates – 19/9/22 – 21/10/22
    • Block 2 dates –31/10/22 – 2/12/22
  • Semester 2: 9 January – 24 March 2023

    • Block 3 dates – 9/1/23 – 10/2/23
    • Block 4 dates   - 20/2/23 - 24/3/23
  • Semester 3: 10 April - 23 June 2023

    • Block 5 dates - 10/4/23 – 12/5/23
    • Block 6 dates – 22/5/23 - 23/6/23

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgProfDevGlobal Health and Infectious DiseasesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2023/24

On successful completion of the Global Health and Infectious Diseases MSc a student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate extensive detailed critical knowledge in global health and infectious diseases informed by evidence based learning.
  2. Apply knowledge, skills, understanding and research in a wide and often unpredictable variety of global health contexts.
  3. Develop and evaluate original and creative solutions to problems and issues faced in response to the infectious disease challenges in global health.
  4. Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
  5. Work in peer relationships to critically reflect on relevant experiences and build on and address these within a scientific context.

This is a professional postgraduate qualification for biomedical, medical, public health, and veterinary personnel who want to develop their scientific knowledge of the spread and management of infectious diseases.

This programme has been designed to help you fulfil leadership roles in international and national organisations that manage health and disease issues. A number of students have also raised their academic profiles through the publication and dissemination of their final year research.

You will develop an extensive knowledge of global health and infectious diseases informed by scientific research, and learn to apply this knowledge in a wide, and often unpredictable variety of global health contexts. Throughout the programme you will learn to develop and evaluate creative solutions to better manage your response to the infectious disease challenges in global health. In addition to having more confidence in their role, and boosting career prospects, many of our graduates find that these skills have significantly enhanced their ability to communicate and influence public policy and decision makers.

Our optional course in Project Management of Development Aid will enhance your leadership and management skills, while courses in GIS and spatial data analysis will significantly enhance your ability to analyse and present data – skills that are vital in addressing the challenges of infectious diseases and global health.

Each year we recruit students from a wide range of professions from around the world, providing you with an insight into the challenges and solutions of healthcare systems in other countries. Our graduates find these insights invaluable in developing their understanding of global health, and identifying new ways to address common challenges.

I am Martin Wainaina and I come from Nairobi, Kenya. I studied the MSc Global Health and Infectious Diseases programme at the University of Edinburgh’s Global Health Academy.

The part-time study programme allowed me to continue with my work in my home country at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). While not easy at all, I learnt with time to integrate my studies with my everyday schedule.

My written reflective element in the third year of study involved lab work and writing a thesis. This component for me was by far the most challenging portion of the programme due to the sheer dedication it required. I however found scheduled supervisory meetings with my assigned supervisor, Dr. Kim Picozzi, as well as those from my home institution, Dr. Johanna Lindahl, very helpful in steering me in the right direction, especially in the lab work, writing and timely submission of the dissertation.

Since finishing the programme, I published the work that comprised my thesis as a peer reviewed journal article.

I later also joined the PhD (Biomedical Sciences) programme in Dahlem Research School at the Freie University of Berlin, in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the German Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR).

A great advantage of studying in the international programme was meeting students from various fields and countries. This was both online and during summer school. It is always a great thing meeting with some of my colleagues in seminars and conferences and exchanging notes as well as catching up. It is always a joy when I meet a former classmate and see the good progress that they have made in their careers.

Combining work and a Masters degree is not an easy task and achieving a good balance does take a while, especially when starting out. However, as with all good things in life, dedication and hard work always rewards. Planning and management of time is vital so that one finishes small tasks before they become too large to handle in the short time available. My lesson therefore is that one needs a positive attitude and to be diligent in the task. When it comes to the written reflective element, proper communication with the supervisors as the project progresses is of great benefit.

The flexibility of setting my schedule was definitely a positive aspect as I could build my career in my home country while furthering my education.

The Global Health and Infectious Diseases programme offered me a chance to broaden my knowledge base to understand more about various important aspects of infectious diseases, with application in both developed and developing country contexts. The presence of a full fee scholarship from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission of the United Kingdom (CSCUK) was also an added advantage as this meant that I would not have to worry with school fees.

Martin Wainaina, Global Health and Infectious Diseases

Read Martin's peer reviewed journal article:

Student testimonial: Karen Rodriguez

Student testimonial: Mary Okuku

Student testimonial: Moses Sebana

Student testimonial: Eleanor Bafour-Agyei

How does online learning work?

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. A biomedical, medical, public health, veterinary or relevant bioscience topic is particularly suitable for this degree programme, but entry is not restricted to these topics.

We may also consider your application if your degree is in an unrelated discipline but you have relevant work experience; please contact us to check before you apply. You may be admitted to Certificate level only in the first instance.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgProfDevGlobal Health and Infectious DiseasesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

The University of Edinburgh offers a small number of scholarships to outstanding candidates. These are very competitive. We publish data on the success rate for scholarship applications to help you understand the level of demand.

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine Postgraduate Office
  • The Chancellor's Building
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine Postgraduate Office
  • The Chancellor's Building
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB